Positioning is dating

Working through your company’s positioning can be surprisingly difficult.

It’s like evaluating a photo of yourself. It’s a lot easier if someone else helps. Even if you’re a positioning expert.

We’re working on this right now with our own outside advisor, Paul Small of BD Navig8tors. And one step in his process is developing a manifesto for our strategy-driven brand design firm.

For comparison and inspiration, we took a look at some samples from other, unnamed agencies. Like so many mission statements and similar declarations of organizational intention, most of these felt as though they could apply to a score of companies in our business. Some seemed more compelling to me, but too many made me think, “Yeah, I’ve heard that before.”

And then I remembered something important.

The goal is to find the ideas that resonate with you. That reflect your values.

It’s not that we’re 100% dissimilar from every single other firm or agency in the nation (much less the world). That’s unrealistic. But the thing that defines us is who we are and, hopefully, what we believe.

On OKCupid, there are dozens of possible people you could date — many of whom you could fall in love with and happily marry. But those dozens are just a tiny slice of the hundreds or thousands of people you may actually encounter in your life.

And what defines these few future hearthrobs is that their WHY is the same as yours. (For more on this see my post on Simon Sinek.)

So it seems this process hinges on becoming very clear about who you are. Then finding interesting, engaging ways of demonstrating your WHY so all those dates out there understand why they should have coffee with you.

This is true for almost every company. When you claim to be the “only” choice, your audience is insulted. And trust — the essence of your brand — is gone.

What you need is to be as different as you actually are. You need to be true to your WHY. Then others who believe in, or value, those same things, will swipe right. And you can get together to find out more.

Positioning. It can help your brand meet the love of its life.

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